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      German Parliament Deals Fatal Blow To Turkish Denial of Genocide

German Parliament Deals Fatal Blow To Turkish Denial of Genocide   23/06/2005

German Parliament Deals Fatal Blow To Turkish Denial of Genocide

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

Last week, there were three important countries that had not yet recognized
the Armenian Genocide: Germany, the United States and Great Britain.

Following last Thursday’s action by the German Bundestag (parliament), there
are now only two major countries left that are still in denial: the United
States and Great Britain.

Just a few months ago, if anyone had said that Germany would adopt a
resolution on the Armenian Genocide anytime soon, we would have questioned
that person’s sanity.

There are several reasons why the German Parliament’s decision is a
significant development:

-- Germany is one of Turkey’s staunchest allies in Europe;
-- German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his ruling party were initially
completely opposed to this proposed resolution;
-- While only 30,000 Armenians live in Germany, there are more than 3
million Turks in that country;
-- The Turkish government and the large Turkish community in Germany tried
everything in their power to block the consideration of this resolution by
the German Parliament;
-- All the political factions in the Bundestag, including the ruling party,
ended up unanimously supporting the resolution on the Armenian Genocide;
-- The resolution states that the Germans acknowledge their own share of
guilt in the Armenian Genocide and urge the Turks to face up to their dark
past.

The Bundestag’s adoption of this resolution deals a fatal blow to the
Turkish government’s desperate attempts to bury the issue of the Armenian
Genocide. This must be particularly demoralizing for Turkish Prime Minister
Receb Tayyip Erdogan who spared no time and effort trying to convince the
world that there was no such thing as Armenian Genocide. In fact, as I have
written repeatedly in this column, the more the Turks try to block the
recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the more they bring this issue up to
the attention of world leaders and the international news media. For
example, at the beginning of June, a Turkish group paid close to million
dollars to send to Time magazine’s half a million European subscribers a 70
minute long DVD that denied and distorted the facts of the Armenian
Genocide. The Turks thus made another half a million people aware of the
Armenian Genocide.

Ironically, a big debt of gratitude for the success of the German resolution
goes to Turkey’s own ambassador to Germany, Mehmet Ali Irtemcelik. He
inadvertently helped the passage of the proposed bill by insulting the
members of the German Parliament during his hysterical efforts to block its
passage.

Some Armenians are troubled by the fact that the Germans took this
initiative in order to accomplish their own agenda of preventing Turkey from
joining the European Union. The concern is that the Germans appear to be
exploiting the issue of the Armenian Genocide to further their own
interests. In my opinion, it is salutary that German and Armenian objectives
have coincided in this instance. Such a convergence would ensure that the
Germans would not easily back away from the recognition of the Armenian
Genocide, as they would not want to abandon their own interests. After all,
how can one expect the leaders of a country to side with the Armenians on
any issue, if doing so would run counter to their own interests!

Some Armenians are also not pleased that the resolution refers to “the
deportations and massacres” of Armenians by Ottoman Turkey, rather than a
direct use of the term “genocide.” In the official explanation of the
resolution, the text actually does use the word “genocide,” and describes in
great detail the atrocities committed against the Armenians by the Young
Turk regime. Furthermore, the resolution uses various other words that are
the equivalents of genocide, such as “mass murder, extermination or
annihilation, and destruction.” It states that “numerous independent
historians, parliaments, and international organizations designate the
expulsion and destruction of the Armenians as a genocide [Volkermord].” The
resolution also estimates the number of those killed in the genocide as
“more than a million,” according to “independent calculations.” It
acknowledges that the German Reich, as the chief ally of the Ottoman Empire
during WW1, was deeply involved in the mass murder of Armenians.

In the past few days, hundreds of articles have been published on the
adoption of the Armenian resolution by the German Parliament. Once again,
the Turkish leaders made matters worse for themselves by lashing out at the
German government. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul described the resolution as
“irresponsible, dismaying, and wounding.” Prime Minister Erdogan referred to
it as “wrong and ugly.” He said that history would put the German leaders to
shame. This undiplomatic name-calling further antagonized the Germans. A
spokesman for the German government said he disagreed with Erdogan’s
characterization, saying that the resolution was “balanced.” The Turkish and
German exchange of words following the passage of the resolution generated
more articles on this issue. Thanks to Turkish demonstrations and protests
in both Ankara and Berlin, The international media continued to provide
extensive coverage of the fall-out from the resolution on the Armenian
Genocide.

As prominent Turkish commentator Mehmet Ali Birand wrote last Saturday in
the Turkish Daily News: “The Armenian genocide allegations are being
approved by a new parliament every passing day. The trap we are in is
closing on us. One day we will see, we are left alone by ourselves. All
Western parliaments will accept the genocide and will be applying pressure
on their governments. The recent development in the German parliament is
just a typical example of this. Let’s not see this as a stab in the back.
Armenians have dominated the international arena to such an extent that the
governments no longer feel the need to resist them.”

The noose is tightening around the neck of genocide deniers. It is only a
matter of time before the other two countries, the United States and Great
Britain, would abandon their feeble attempts to deny what their own archives
prove beyond the shadow of a doubt. Then Turkey would have no place to run
and no place to hide. The Turkish leaders should realize that without
acknowledging the Armenian Genocide and without making appropriate amends to
the survivors, Turkey has no chance of being admitted to the European Union.
The lengthy text of the German Parliament’s resolution makes that point
abundantly clear.


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